William Barr’s Pervasion of Justice

May 9, 2020: the lead editorial in The New York Times was  “ William Barr’s Perversion of Justice”.   Against a black background,  Barr’s face  appeared behind a large red Scales of Justice tipped unevenly. It was a shocking picture introducing a shocking tale of a United States Attorney General who has been tipping the scales to benefit President Donald Trump rather than protecting the Justice system and the American people.

Prologue:  

After the Watergate Scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned to avoid Impeachment.  United States Attorney General John Mitchell and over ten other members of the Nixon administration went to prison.  Watergate led to reforms to ensure an independent Justice Department faithful to the law rather than the president. Among the reforms were greater transparency and ethics rules like the creation of independent inspectors general to rid the  executive branch of waste, fraud and abuse.  There were also new limits on presidential power in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

Donald J. Trump Administration   Donald Trump has already fired four Inspectors General in different areas of his administration.   He also broke the Congressional Act when he withheld hundreds of million dollars of aid to Ukraine.

After Donald Trump had been elected, he went through some months of interviewing men and women for cabinet positions .  William Barr sent him a very  long letter of introduction where he discussed his years of service to Republican presidents. He believed presidents should have maximum authority with little oversight.  Donald Trump chose William Barr to be United States Attorney  General .

Barr was confirmed by the Senate and only a month later he introduced the Mueller Report on Russian Interference in The 2016 Presidential Election.  Robert Mueller and his team of F.B.I investigators had worked for almost two years on the 448 page documented report.  The event was covered by all cable and major stations .  National interest was high since no leaks had occurred of the major findings.

William Barr was sworn in and seated to make his presentation.  He had only four pages to consult as he read  that “No collusion had been found between the president’s administration and Russia and There had been no obstruction of Justice.”  At the White House, there was jubilation as Trump and everyone watching were celebrating “ complete exoneration. “

The next day, The New York Times had a front page list of Volume 2 of the Mueller Report Obstruction of Justice ten examples.   Critics of the president were suspicious of Barr’s interpretation. The complete report was not available for weeks to Congress or the American public. Robert Mueller made public a  letter to William Barr raising questions and objections to the presentation. Barr never answered him.

When the report was finally available to the media, there were immediate responses on cable and major news channels by critics  who had read the entire report.   Barr’s interpretation was widely held to be biased.  However Barr stuck to his original analysis and conclusions.  He referred to the investigation as “spying” and ordered a criminal inquiry into its origin. On Fox News, he called the Russia Investigation “One of the greatest travesties in American History.”

During the following months and years,  William Barr appeared on the side of the president when they  were involved in legal troubles and trials.  He helped Roger Stone a long time friend of Donald Trump receive a lighter sentence.  Most recently,  he was instrumental in former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn being completely freed of charges of lying to The F.B.I.

This latest reversal of serious charges against the leader of Trump’s entire security team brought the May 9 editorial described at the beginning of this blog.  Flynn had been very close to Trump when he ran for office.  He created the famous “Lock her up” chant during rallies as he stood next to him.

The reversal of charges then moved to  U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan who could validate or question the move.  He has a reputation as a “tough  experienced judge” and showed that with an order reported on May 12 .  The order required both legal sides in the lifting of charges to present evidence and revisit the original case.  William Barr’s decision will now be moved to a higher authority.

A final note : Over two thousand former federal prosecutors responded to Barr’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn by calling for William Barr’s resignation as Attorney General of The United States.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch McConnell: Donald Trump’s Henchman!

 

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the United State Senate, has done harm to our Justice  System.  McConnell knows the complex Senate rules by heart and has used them to further Conservative Republican objectives whenever possible.  He has faithfully supported Trump through his years in office.

During the last years of the Obama administration , Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia , the leader of the Conservative wing of the High Court, died.   President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Chief of the Washington D.C. Second Circuit Appeals Court to replace him.  This appointment was praised by Republicans as well as Democrats.  He is a middle of the road Justice , neither liberal nor conservative.

However,  Mitch McConnell said it was too close to the next Presidential Election to hold the customary interviews with the Senate and votes to confirm or deny the appointment.   Despite enormous criticism from the Obama administration and Democratic members of the Senate and Congress,  McConnell succeeded in keeping the seat vacant for over a year until the 2016 election took place.  This had never happened before!  Chief Justice John Roberts never commented upon McConnell blocking President Obama’s Constitutional  power  to  nominate a Justice to fill the vacancy.

During those months, The Supreme Court had to function with only eight members.  Although McConnell came under criticism from legal and government figures as well as presidential scholars,  he never budged from his position.   When Donald Trump was elected,  one of his first priorities was to nominate a conservative Republican, Neil Gorsuch, to the High Court.  McConnell guided him through confirmation to his seat on The Supreme Court.

On May ll,  in an interview with Lara Trump, the president’s daughter in law,  McConnell said, “Obama should have kept his mouth shut” referring to a leaked account of Obama’s private call to former members of his administration when he described Trump’s handling of the pandemic crisis as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”  McConnell added, “You had your shot—you were there for eight years. “  It is important to note that McConnell fought the Obama administration on immigration, health care, the environment and gun safety throughout the eight years.

McConnell has also tried to shift blame to Obama by saying his administration never left behind “any kind of game plan” for dealing with a pandemic.  In response, Ron Klain, who ran the Obama administration response to Ebola, said, “We literally left them a 69 page Pandemic Playbook that they ignored.  “

McConnell stood with Trump during the Impeachment trial in the Senate. He led the Republican senators who refused to allow witness testimony and voted to acquit him of all charges.  The Republicans have a slim majority , but it was enough to end the Trial with Trump’s Acquittal.

Mitch McConnell, up for re-election in November, is running against Amy, McGrath, a Marine fighter pilot and Mom.  The latest polls give him only a one point advantage and she appears to be gaining momentum.  If McConnell loses the election, Trump will have lost a very important ally.

…………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden Interview in The New York Times and The Atlantic City Press

 

Saturday, May 2, 2020:  I had watched the interview yesterday with great interest.  It was the first he had given since Tara Reade has raised allegations of sexual assault when she worked on his senatorial staff twenty seven years ago.  Biden has responded that it never happened whenever a reporter has asked questions.

The interview was live on “Morning Joe” with the hosts Mica and Joe asking questions.  Mica began with Reade’s picture and her allegations as well as asking Joe if he would release his personnel files of his work as a senator.  He explained that he has opened up thousands of papers in the Archives to the public.  However, the files she asks for have talks with foreign leaders over eight years and these should not be available during the presidential race for political use by his opponent.

Mica then showed pictures of more than a dozen women who had accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment or sexual assault over the years.   Joe took over for  the second half and dealt with current issues of the pandemic virus and its effects upon the economy  and life of the people of the country.  Biden gave specific answers covering what he is doing right now in advance of results of the election next November.  He was calm and clear in describing what he had done during the Ebola pandemic as Vice President working with President Obama in the United States and abroad.

Today’s coverage of the interview in The New York Times and The Atlantic  City Press shocked me!   When I was teaching at Atlantic Community College, my students said The Times was my bible.  Donald Trump considers the Times and The Washington Post as his enemies, “fake news” mongers.  The latter has a reporter who counts the lies of the president, now in the thousands.

Thus, when I saw the front pages of the two papers, Joe Biden was on both papers :  Times: second lead story on left hand side .  Press: picture top right with “Never Happened” in bold print.  Story appeared later in section C .

Next, I turned to the Editorial page of The  New York Times and found a dark partial picture of Biden’s face looking stressed under the title in bold type: Investigate Tara Reade’s Allegations.  Toward the end of the long editorial in dark print  was “ Americans need to know more about a sexual assault allegation against the likely Democratic nominee. “

Then I read the entire editorial.  It was almost completely about Reade’s allegation until a short paragraph of seven lines  next to the last paragraph ……… From that paragraph, ”It has been noted that Donald Trump has been accused of  sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women. Those claims should also be investigated … Mr. Trump simply denies them and attacks his accusers.”

The Atlantic City Press had a column on page one of Section C World and Nation.   Headline: Biden  declares sexual assault ‘never never happened.”   It was written by Alexandra Jaffe and Bill Barrow of Associated Press. Within the body of their article, they discuss Biden’s pledge to have the Archives open, since that would be the place for a complaint if she had done that at the time.   They  ended with his pledge to choose a woman as Vice President  and the fact that the presidential race will be the  first of the MeToo era.

Their coverage was completely different from The Times where the entire editorial board is represented by the lead editorial each day.

My concern of course, is that Donald Trump and his team will take their editorial and use it in as many ways and times as they can.

I wrote to The Times  before  writing this blog .  A  very long shot to have it printed, but I felt the need to speak out directly to them.  If it appears in Letters…. I’ll let you know on my blog…

……………………………………………  Joyce S. Anderson